Jesus had some one-liners that he used over and over again. I think one of his favorites might have been the “eyes to see and ears to hear” reference.
Favorites might not be the right word. There definitely seem to have been times when it was actually a little exasperating that his disciples could be right alongside him and not see what was really going on. Mark 8:14-21 is a good example. Right after Jesus had fed the 4,000, they were back in a boat crossing the lake when this conversation happened:
The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat. “Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.”
They discussed this with one another and said, “It is because we have no bread.”
Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear?
In a recent conversation with a small group pastor I found myself wanting to interrupt and use the line myself. As I listened to him describe a plan he had developed, I stopped him more than once with questions intended to help him see a flaw or several in his plan.
This is important: Essentially he was creating a new destination instead of a legitimate step that led to authentic community. See also, Three Important Distinctives of North Point’s Access Group Strategy and 5 Powerful Ideas that Could Reshape Your Ministry Approach.
Each of my questions was met with a rationale (or a rationalization).
After several attempts to draw his attention to what I saw as a fairly significant flaw in the strategy, it seemed for a moment that I had succeeded. He said, “Ahhh. Okay…I see what you’re saying. It’s because we’re not serving bread!” (He didn’t really say that, but it was equally off target).
- All of us struggle to see the flaws in our own plan. I do. And you do too.
- The power of fresh eyes cannot be overstated. Including an outsider with no emotional attachment is an essential ingredient if we want to do our best work. See also, Fresh Eyes and No Emotional Attachment.
- My daily prayer must become, “Lord, help me to have eyes to see and ears to hear.” And yours does too.
What do you think? Want to argue? Have an idea to add? You can click here to jump into the conversation.